Bill to Reauthorize Landmark Autism Law Approved by House Committee

July 17, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) announced that bipartisan legislation to reauthorize federal programs and activities that help individuals with Autism and their families has been approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and reported to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

This bill, the Autism CARES Act of 2019 (HR 1058), is supported by a broad coalition of autism and disability advocate organizations, including Autism Speaks, Autism Society of America, Association of University Centers on Disabilities, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Autism NJ. A companion bill (S 427) was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Mike Enzi (R-WY).

Since Congress passed the original version of this legislation in 2006, over $3 billion has been dedicated to the NIH, CDC and HRSA to understand autism spectrum disorders and to find the right intervention and support for each unique individual,” Congressman Doyle said. Funding has also been used to support the training and education of health professionals, to provide resources for families, and to coordinate efforts across federal agencies at the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. These efforts have translated into real-life support for individuals and families.”

“We still have a long way to go,” Congressman Doyle added.This bill would help to address some of the gaps that remain in our understanding of ASD, as well as interventions and supports for individuals and families. We will continue working to enact the Autism CARES Act of 2019, and I am optimistic that we will before the existing authorization expires on September 30.”

The Autism CARES Act of 2019 would reauthorize the Autism CARES Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-157). It would authorize over $1 billion in funding for programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) over five years. At CDC, the funding would go to developmental disability surveillance and research; at HRSA, the funding would cover education, early detection and intervention; at NIH, the funding would cover the expansion and coordination of autism-related activities.

Among other actions, the legislation:

• Requires HHS to report to Congress on the progress of activities related to autism and other developmental disabilities, and the health and well-being of individuals on the autism spectrum. 

• Directs NIH to conduct research targeted at improving outcomes and detection for persons with autism of all ages. 

• Directs HRSA to prioritize grants for developmental-behavioral pediatricians in medically-underserved areas. 

• Amends sections of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) to reflect the need for research, surveillance, education, detection, and intervention for individuals with autism spectrum disorder of all ages, not just children. 

Click here to see Congressman Doyle’s statement this morning in support of the Autism CARES Act.